Caprica DVD Review

Published 5 years ago by , Updated November 10th, 2009 at 1:55 pm,

caprica title banner p Caprica DVD Review

Bruce here, your resident Battlestar Galactica reporter. After reporting on Battlestar Galactica (BSG) for the last few years, it seemed only natural that I continue my coverage of the mythos, with the prequel Caprica.

What Is Caprica About?

Caprica is about the rapidly evolving spheres of human and mechanical engineering that collide in the BSG universe. It focuses on two families are brought together by the tragedy of an explosive act of terrorism. These two families are led by powerful patriarchs, Joseph Adama played by Esai Morales (Jericho) and Daniel Graystone played by Eric Stoltz (The Butterfly Effect) who find themselves in a conflict of questionable ethics, corporate machinations and intense personal ambition as we watch the beginning of what we know will be the end for humanity. It’s brought to us by executive producers of Battlestar Galactica (Ronald D. Moore and David Eick), set in a time 58 years before the fall. Caprica is entirely its own world.

When I was asked to write something up, but with “No Spoilers,” I thought how the frak am I going to do this? I came into this hoping that they’d captured the essence of what I came to enjoy about BSG. This show brought me right along and actually took me way from what BSG was.  I had forgotten that this was a prequel as I found myself wanting more of these characters as the show moved along.

caprica041 Caprica DVD Review

I was surprised. Well, surprised is an understatement… within a half hour, I was anxiously looking forward to the next scene and the scene after that, etc..

Observations From Watching Caprica

The characters are rich in detail and compelling. Each scene gave us something new about their past, and their impending future. As one of the creators, Remi Aubuchon said, “It’s not a space drama, though space will be involved.”  This is about a society that can travel in space, but the plot takes place on Caprica.

After reading bits about Caprica and watching BSG, I thought I knew what to expect. I was right and wrong. There was the society that has been hinted at, with characters that had only been referenced in passing throughout BSG. Yet, I was thrown for a loop with some surprises and twists about things I that I thought I knew.

Yes, there are what I call “anchor references” to Battlestar Galactica. Yet this show doesn’t depend on BSG at all. It doesn’t need to, but there are the obvious connections. Adama, Graystone, and of course, the slow, well crafted development of the “Cybernetic life-form node”, the Cylon.

Some Bits Without Spoilers

caprica holoband 01 Caprica DVD Review

Holobands are little devices that kids use to connect to a virtual world, like MySpace and Facebook, but on a Holodeck. But this “V Club” they go to in the Holo world is pretty intense, with rooms for every “interest.” Warning: The uncut, unrated DVD is EXPLICIT.  If you thought that Battlestar Galactica had some sex going on, you haven’t seen anything – this is far more… detailed than BSG. This DVD is not for kids, folks!

There is distinct angst amongst races from different planets, and there’s the usual assortment of organized crime, terrorism, industrial espionage and subterfuge that takes place. But not overdone.

The society believes in multiple gods, but there is a splinter of society who only believe in one god. Yet to make their point, they seem to resort to violence.

caprica chip 01 Caprica DVD Review

SPOILERS FOLLOW (which are actually given away in the trailer for the DVD)

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The death of the daughters of Adama and Graystone (and Adama’s wife) instigate the decision processes that initiate the development of what we now know as Cylons, but not quite like you think. The event only precipitated the chain of decisions. Decisions with twists.

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END SPOILERS

As it is, robotic assistants are a part of society. Caprica civilization is much on par with ours, except of course, they’re just a little bit more advanced.

caprica computer sheet 01 p Caprica DVD Review

The above screen cap from an online trailer is a laptop computer that a like folded up pieces of paper. Zoe Graystone pulls out a piece of paper, unfolds it and sends her mom an email.

Throughout the film, we get bits and pieces of field tests of what will be the Cybernetic life-form node… or Cylon.  Showing the earliest predecessor of the Cylon Centurion was fulfilling to some degree and what I would say is well done.  Well envisioned.

DVD Extras

As far as DVD extras, the deleted scenes impressed me. They weren’t just scenes that had to be cut for time that might make us go “ooh” &  “ahh.” The deleted scenes filled in gaps of info that you either didn’t know was missing or confirmed suspicions on other ideas you might have derived from watching the movie. The deleted scenes did something I’ve never seen before. They made the show even more complete.

Video Blogs gave tours of a few sets, showed us the director at work and a rough outline of how he approached some things. It wasn’t a huge time filler, but it was fine for what it was.

Sci Fi had their hand in the DVD too. There was a full episode of Ghost Hunters in the extras, titled “Hometown Haunts.”

They do have an option for feature commentary with director Jeffrey Reiner (Friday Night Lights), Ronald D. Moore and David Eick. I’ve seen some good and not so worthwhile “feature commentary” on DVDs before. What I will say is that the first time you watch the movie, you do not want to play it with this feature on. Why? Because they NEVER shut up! And that’s a good thing. You won’t hear over 90% of the movie as they constantly chat about the scenes, their inspirations for the scenes, the locations, etc…. it’s awesome. But like I said… watch the movie first!

What things do they mention?

The “V Club” was filmed in the same place as the Opera House we’ve seen time and time again in BSG. The glasses that William B. Davis (The smoking man from X-Files) was wearing were the same that Dr Tyrell wore in Blade Runner because they had a Blade Runner fan high up in the production crew.

In Summary

When I first heard they were releasing a DVD as the pilot of the series way before the series started, I didn’t have a very constructive thought about that. It seemed odd. After watching it, I was amazed.

If you enjoy true character driven stories, you won’t be disappointed. It’s like Moore and Eick practiced with BSG and used their honed skills on Caprica. It’s believable and if you’re inclined to purchase this gem of a DVD, I think you will be pleased with this product.

It’s dark and desperate, on a completely different level than BSG was. Where society was running for its life in BSG, these Caprica families desperately pursue misguided dreams that make society what it will be. I think the casting of many of the characters was dead on and that makes this experience complete. Both Stoltz and Morales are Graystone and Adama.  Additionally, I think this could have been a stand alone movie and that it would have been incredibly satisfying. And yet, they have 20 more episodes. I find that enticing and I can’t wait until it airs in early 2010.

I don’t think this is a spoiler but: After watching this movie, I think I see the potential explanation as to why Cylons only believe in one god.  For those of you who do buy the DVD and watch it, I want you to come back and tell me if you don’t see it also.  But do it in such a way that leaves no spoilers.

Now the only question I have is how will Sci-Fi handle this show?  Do we get one season or are we going to see two 10-episode seasons? I hope they do the smart thing.  That’s all I have to say.

The Caprica DVD comes out on April 21st on both DVD and Digital Download.

Visit the official site CapricaDVD.com for more info.

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  1. What do you mean, ‘Both Stoltz and Morales are Greystone and Adama’?

    How were the performances of the actors, how was the music, how was the photography? More please!

  2. Good questions Mike. Let me reiterate with a little more of that verbose nature of mine, and sorry about that one line, if you confused you.

    “Joseph Adama [is] played by Esai Morales”
    “Daniel Greystone [is] played by Eric Stoltz”

    I don’t think they could have picked better actors to portray these personas. For me, it felt dead on. Stoltz is the patient and aggressive businessman who has it all, and wants even more. Morales is a highly respected lawyer (We knew that from BSG) who’s worked hard to get where he is.

    I feel the music was on par with how we came to expect BSG sound tracks where we were further transported into a scene by the music.

    The photography, what can I say? I loved the whole project. When we need to focus on a character or a scene, we close in on it. We see the emotion or the importance of a scene when the camera pans or zooms in on a face or center character of whatever is happening.

    As noted earlier, I came into this expecting a BSG tied media project / prequel but this can stand on its own, hands down!

    FOOTNOTE: The section that says SPOILERS… it’s only that paragraph, not the rest of the article.

  3. Bruce,

    You just made me double check that I added “End Spoilers” at the end of them.

    Vic

  4. Did Lampkin said a few thing about Joe Adama on BSG? Like he learn everything from him…

  5. SCREENRANT WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS ARE INCLUDED IN THIS COMMENT:
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    For the most part I loved the Caprica pilot but I did have my problems with it. The outward racism in such an advanced civilization was a little over the top. Greystone never seeing any signs his daughter was apt in computer science was, to be kind, extremely unusual. Her grades would have been the first clue, her IQ test the second and the tech gear she used, stole or ordered for her experiments the third.

    Battlestar Galactica: Caprica Trailer
    http://film-book.com/caprica-trailer/

    Battlestar Galactica: Caprica Clips
    http://film-book.com/battlestar-galactica-caprica-clips/

  6. In response to too much racism in the Caprica civilization, it was quite apparent that in BSG there were many racial tensions that originated far before the cylon attack. For example, besides certain stereotypes given to colonies such as Aerilon where Baltar was from, there was specific racism towards Sagittarons in the episode “The Woman King”. They were attacked for clinging on to “old spiritual ways” by Colonel Tigh, Admiral Adama and deemed as not worth saving or helping by many in that episode. So I am not surprised by the extensive racial tensions in Caprica as we’ve seen it in BSG.

    By the way I saw the Caprica pilot and absolutely love it. I was a big fan of BSG and am very glad the legacy is continuing.

  7. Yeah I totally got the ‘why cylons believe in one god’ thing, because of the character of Zoe and the ending.

    I liked the Pilot but I didn’t love it like I did BsG. I am going to give it a chance though as BsG didn’t hook me in all the way from the beginning, so we’ll see.

  8. Hi! I kind was wondering if there was a possible connection with the Haloband technology and how the humans projected thoughout BSG (Kara: projected herself, Romo: his cat, Laura: visions/opera house Battlestar: upon cyon organic base ship tech it was able to platform the opera house Baltar: the inners…)
    With the inners or Angels I wonder if Angel, Avatar, and Afterlife go hand in hand….

    Do you think the Greystones created a matrix in which people could download upon their death…making a holy spirit and a heaven (Like Laura’s vision: crossing of the river)???????????

  9. Laura – The humans never projected, that was an ability only the cylons (and maybe Baltar) had.
    Perhaps Zoes belief system eventually gets projected and copied onto the nascent cylon core programing and leads to rebellion and the eventual genocide.

  10. I just watch the digital download and unfortunately the download does not have any “extras” attached. All you get is the pilot, just fyi. But after watching the pilot I am looking forward to the series.

  11. READERS, Take note:

    XOLODNYJ noted that he did the digital download but he did not get any extras with it.

    I’m bummed for you bud! The extras are what complete this package.

  12. I also thought that this was an interesting pilot, and the ending makes me want to wish the show would start already this year, not 2010.

    (Btw, about this ‘paper laptop’ – I think it is somehow interesting that we never saw any kind of that or similar mobile techology at BSG. Not that it would be really THAT important, but this ‘past’ looks to me in some way more modern than the future displayed in BSG. Of course, in BSG we mainly see the inside of an ‘old’ military ship, so the technology used there is rather functional. And when your planet is attacked you’d certainly rather try to save your life than one of your mobile devices… But still, I mean how much technology do we already carry around.)

    Anyway, it’s nice to see how it all started – the implications of religion to the Cylons in BSG seem to make more sense now, let’s see how this continues!

  13. cine_phil:

    Well said.

    I was about to point out that the Galactica was about to become a museum and had nothing but old tech… but dang, you covered it.

  14. They need to put on the download or the DVD that it contains nudity. I know they have it listed as “unrated” but unrated just mean it wasn’t reviewed by the ratings board. Some people do watch BSG with their families, so they may assume Caprica is harmless enough. Still, it’s going to be interesting how the episodes will lead us from Caprica series to BSG series. I just hope it will not take an additional 6 years to get there.

    What really impresses me is the darkness of the pilot. But as far as technology goes, their may be better technology that exist, but we may find later on that a lot of that stuff may have been ban. After all, the Galactica wasn’t as technological advanced as the other battlestar, and that is what saved it.

  15. “They need to put on the download or the DVD that it contains nudity.”

    That’s why we’re here Xolodnyj. To take care of our readers with info that otherwise might not be known.

    Thanks for coming by.

  16. @ Bruce Simmons

    Thanks.

    Yes, Galactica has quite a history – but if I get the timeline right, the battleship will be build eight years after the events in the pilot, so even the technology of this paper laptop would be somehow old at that point. But well, it’s a military ship which becomes like you said a museum, that doesn’t need the latest technology. And who in the fleet would need online mobile devices anyway, when there’s no ‘world wide web’ anymore to connect to… (At least no civilian web.)

    Another thing that surprised me: the young William Adama is 11 years old in the pilot, so he’ll be 69 at the fall of Caprica? Well I know he’s called the ‘old man’ at that point of time, but really that old? (Man I hope I’ll be in that good shape at this age then…) I’d rather had guessed about 10 years younger, 58-60 perhaps. (I mean, Edward James Olmos was in his fifties when BSG started, and didn’t look like he should be about 70 in my opinion.)

    Still wonder if Greystone (Stoltz) really ‘feels’ something or cares for his daughter at all, or if he is only interested in her personal programming achievements and therefore just manipulates everyone around him to get them. But perhaps this is no real black and white situation here.

  17. I was profoundly disappointed by ‘Caprica’. I thought that the plot was thin and incredibly predictable. There were also some rather absurd plot points that seemed irrelevant. I don’t understand why the needed Adama to deliver a message if they were going to have someone else assassinate the defense minister. Why involve Adama at all? Also, why didn’t he just refer to himself as Adama from the begining? The whole Adams/Adama sub-plot was totally irrelevant.

    The nudity in the DVD version was totally unnecessary and gratuitous, I expected a bit of class from the creators of BSG. I don’t know how anyone can vouch for those boob-shots as augmenting the story and do so with a straight face.

    Plus, what’s with all the teen drama? I thought Caprica/BSG were broadcast on Sci-Fi (sorry, SyFy :D ) not the WB?

    I like character dramas, but these characters were weak and forced. Adama has morals when they suit Ron Moore’s whims and he loses his morals when they’re inconvenient. Almost all the young actors in the pilot made me cringe (Adama’s daughter, Willy Adama [Willy... classic!], Lacey (Lacey? what kind of name is Lacey for anyone other than a stripper? etc.) .

    I knew they were going to put Zoe’s brain in the robot body but I was praying and hoping they wouldn’t. I just can’t take that plot-line seriously: a 7-foot tall, 1-ton killing machine with the brain of a horny 16-year old girl…

    I loved BSG but this show is the spawn of egos too massive for television that was rushed into production while the writers were probably shackled to Ron Moore’s Benz as they were forced to write contrived drivel for his amusement.

  18. Sean,

    Romo Lamkin SAW his dead Cat!

    Laura and Gauis both ‘projected’ the Opera House!

  19. Also the writers interestingly don’t just call ‘inner’ Balter and six, ‘inners’, but also VIRTUAL Baltar and Virtual six! -like Virtual Zoe, the Avatar, Zoe-A! Angels = Avatars = Afterlife = Aastro Projection….

    I am sure that who ever Zoe (and sister willow?) was following could have been a cylon from Earth….maybe one who escaped….since kobol made the first cylons which included there astro projection ( Galen could project with Boomer)

  20. John said:

    >>(Lacey? what kind of name is Lacey for anyone other than a stripper? etc.)<<

    I just had horrible images of Cagney and Lacey on stripper poles. You owe me a clean puke bucket!

  21. LMAO, ROTF… you owe me rib bandages!

  22. The director seems to think it’s a brilliant idea that the avatars take from scores of data sources and recreate a personality. This is bullcrap. What we see is a fully developed avatar, with feelings AND memories, and I suppose the question is, does it have a soul?

    I wonder, am I the only one who will admit to seeing Magda Apanowicz (Lacey) on Kyle XY?

  23. “Holobands are little devices that kids use to connect to a virtual world, like MySpace and Facebook”

    Sorry but I thought of Second Life when the line “she de-rezzed”. Rezzing is a second life term.

  24. Nice! I’d wouldn’t have thought of that because I never hit up Second Life Vladimir.

    Thanks for that tidbit.

  25. I thought the DVD was excellent and am looking forward to the series – and while I was not offended by the gratuitous nudity, I would have appreciated a ‘made for TV’ cut that I could comfortably watch with (or recommend to) my teen-aged kids.

    And this story totally explains the Cylon’s mono-theistic origins.

  26. MAKsys:

    Glad you liked the Caprica DVD. I think that would have been a great idea to incorporate an edited version for the entire family to watch.

    Bingo on the mono-theistic origin. Suddenly everything in Battlestar Galactica made sense. OK, well, maybe not everything.